Youth Pastors and Halo

Yesterday’s New York Times had a fascinating article about the popular video game Halo and the use of it in churches all across America. The title of the article is Thou Shalt Not Kill, Except in a Popular Video Game at Church. You can read the entire article by following this Link.

After you read the story answer this question for me: How do we as youth pastors possibly look good in this story? I’ve played Halo with students on multiple occasions, but I’ve got to tell you, after reading this article, my stomach turned. What is it that we are saying to the world around us when we play? Do you think we look at all two-faced when we say that we value life and then play the game? Or, is it a different thing, since in Halo it’s aliens? Maybe it’s time that we re-examine that entire Christians are to be set apart deal and begin to take it serious in all parts of life.

Thanks to Jon Clauson for sending me the link.

When You Suffer

Psalm 119:50 – “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”

Have you ever been through a period of suffering? Maybe you lost a loved one. Maybe you lost a job. Maybe it was extremely difficult circumstances that led to a depression. Mabye your suffering was over your faith in God, or your faith in someone that no one else had faith in. Perhaps it was an illness. Perhaps you are suffering now.

So, how do you get through life when life gets tough. In the past few years, several people that I have known have decided to end their own life. It’s sad. In their moment of despair, these friends thought that the answer for them was suicide. It’s not the answer. The answer is something that David discovered long ago. The answer is that no matter how tough the circumstance, no matter how great the suffering, God is true to His word. God has promised relief. It may not come when we want it, but it will come. And, it was this promise from God that sustained David during his darkest nights.

What has God promised for those who love Him? Scripture tells us that it is so grand that no mind can even conceive of it. We know that it is good. It is paradise. And, it is awaiting those who love God.

Reach out for His comfort today.

Dear God,

When we are sad, discouraged and downright suffering help us to remember that You have promised you children an inheritance that will never fade away. Help us to reach out in love for you. Help us to trust.

Thank you for loving us.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Hope

Psalm 119:49 – “Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.”

Poet Emily Dickinson once wrote the following about hope,

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul.
And sings the tune
Without the words,
and never stops at all.”

I love that. There are those in this world who have become too afraid to hope. Hope brings with it the possibility of despair. And, because of that, some have decided that they would rather not hope at all.

I want to suggest that hope, in anything or anyone but God, will bring disappointment. Hope in God is not a guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Philip Yancey, the famous Christian author wrote an entire book dedicated to the topic several years ago when he penned his famous work, Disappointed With God. (It’s worth picking up if you’ve never read it.)God is worth putting hope in. He always follows through on His promises. It’s just not always as fast as we’d like, or necessarily done the way that we would want.

Aren’t you glad that you don’t have to make decisions for God? Aren’t you glad that you aren’t God? I know that I’m not worth hoping in. I’ll continually fail those who put their hope in me. God won’t. And, He’s worth trusting with our all.

Dear God,

We place our hope in You. We need Your touch in our life. There is nothing on earth that compares to You. Help us to believe when our faith is weak. Help us to trust when we are disappointed. Help us to never stop loving You.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.